Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Lord of Desolation!

What will you do for your fifteen minutes of fame?

Well, Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah fame is busy celebrating the destruction of his country on various Arab TV channels, a development that is currently affording him the opportunity to prove his worth in the Arab Street as a hero of the national resistance.

Indeed, and as the Israelis continue to bombard Lebanon back to the Stone Age, killing more than 400 civilians so far (not counting the bodies still buried under the rubble) and causing more than 10 billion USD in damages, and counting, the turbaned symbol of our forever impending national salvation continues to promise us victory, a feat that will likely assume the form of personal survival, namely: his.

For the main difference between Islam and Christianity seems to lie in the nature of our messianic figures. The Christian Messiah goes to the cross to redeem the sins of the flock. Islamic Messiahs (plural is both necessary and factual), on the other hand, have always sent the flock to the cross for their sins. But, having had a long history of behaving in a manner similar to Islamic messiahs, Jewish leaders, seems to have come up with an ingenious compromise here, namely: sending other people, messiahs and all, to the cross for their sins, for these people’s particular sins, and for the sins of whoever happened to be in the neighborhood at the time. You can even bid to have your sins redeemed in the process.

So, as Nasrallah’s rockets poke occasional holes in Israeli buildings, and Israeli bombs often bringing down whole buildings on top of occasional Hezbollah fighters, the promised victory is threatening to assume the guise of a series of little defeats, adding up to a catastrophe of major proportions, that only the survival of our Lord of Desolation can help mask. But if our recent history has taught us anything is that much can indeed be swept under the turbans of our leaders, be they real or purely figurative, the turbans that is.